booms and busts have arrived and departed many times in history. The American
Dream has experienced many rolling blackouts and glorious peaks.
my sons, and anyone else who will listen, that in my lifetime of 78 years, I think
I have lived in the premier chapter or period of American history.
relating stories about good times and bad, and the many varied remedies and solutions
people offer, I tell the following stories to illustrate my points:
An old cowboy who had been working for $30 per month and board for most of his
life was told by the new ranch owners where he worked they were raising his wages
to $40 per month. All the other employees were delighted at the news, but the
old cowboy was shaking his head and frowning. The new owners asked, “Why are you
not happy with the raise?” He answered, “It nearly kills me now to drink up $30
worth of whiskey each month. Another $10 may put me under.”
A major political
machine was conducting interviews of the American public to gain input into what
was needed to jump-start the economy. Every class and economic level of the public
was questioned closely and recorded in the poll.
homeless man, pushing his heavily loaded cart along the street was asked, “Sir,
what do you think needs to be done to help the economy?” In great detail and with
enthusiasm he answered, “I think they need to gather up all the money in the world
and distribute it equally among all the people of the world.” Noticing the wine
bottle in a paper sack in the man’s coat pocket, the interviewer stated, “Sir,
I’ll bet if that was done, you would be broke again by next week.” The old gentleman
laughed and answered, “That’s what I mean. Do it every Friday.”
I’ve always had a problem with someone doing the exact same job every year for
years, yet expecting a raise or a bonus every year for exactly the same effort.
The result of this expectation was borne out in the Texas
Panhandle a few years ago affecting our little town.
A profitable company run by good people had a main office and twelve branch offices
located across the Panhandle.
Each branch had an office, warehouse and company pickup. Each branch also had
an office manager, a secretary and a warehouse man to load products.
company maintained the same sales each year but always paid a bonus or raised
the wages of all employees each year, as that seemed to be a habit of the times
and was expected.
After 20 years, the company faced bankruptcy. A competitor
purchased the company for cents on the dollar and reorganized. Every manager and
secretary was laid off. All company pickups, office equipment and furniture were
sold at auction. The warehousemen were all schooled in operating fax machines,
credit cards were encouraged and discounts offered to customers who picked up
products at the warehouse docks.
The American Dream continued but for
a different group of dreamers. Beware! Our chickens, so carefully guarded in the
past, may be coming home to roost.
Trew - November
2 , 2011 column
Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164,
by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For books see delberttrew.com. His column appears weekly.
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